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Hospital-at-home has been promoted as a potentially effective means of replacing costly inpatient care with cheaper domiciliary care. We studied three hospital-at-home schemes in West London providing intensive home care for early discharge orthopaedic patients, comparing their costs with those of standard inpatient care. Although costs per day of hospital-at-home care were lower than those of inpatient care, the schemes appeared to increase the total duration of orthopaedic episodes, so that the costs of standard care, per episode, were lower than those of hospital-at-home. While hospital-at-home may offer considerable future potential, substitution of home care for inpatient care will not necessarily save resources.